Friday, May 31, 2013


Yeah, I don't have any great title for ... anything.

Okay ... I feel the need to blog, but I ... I don't really know what to write. So this post is just a huge brain dump.

You're welcome.

Michael and Bruise are out with a couple of the neighbor boys (from a family in the ward ... their dad is pretty ill right now. He was in the hospital earlier this month. I hope he's doing better. Michael'd know. He's been over there a couple times) on the Stake (a group of wards and branches, i.e., congregations) Father-Son Campout.
So it's just us girls here at home tonight.

I watched a cartoon (short) with Bucket. Bubbles is napping. I should get her up.
Bucket and I, pre-cartoon, cleaned up the front rooms ... and picked up their bedroom a little more.
I made mac-n-cheese and hot dogs.
I also put a crapload of boric acid on the dining room carpet (honestly, a carpeted dining room? STUPID), swept it into the carpet ... then vacuumed it up. Because I'm sick of having ants in our house.
Our carpet is a great color for not showing dirt ... but it makes it hard to see if ants are crawling ALL OVER IT. Sucks either way.

We also are getting some estimates from exterminators. Because I've learned that I can't handle these ant swarms by myself. If I could, I'd find a poison that worked ONLY on ants ... and I'd move the house from its foundation, COAT EVERYTHING with the poison, stir it in (Push it! Push it REAL GOOD!), and put the house back.
I really am just fed up with these stupid ants.

If I knew where the nest was, I'd totally be up for piling the agonized corpses of all the ones I've killed by the entrance. Like I'm the freaking Godfather.

Also, like my friend Damien said (and he's TOTALLY right), smashed ants smell like Pepsi.
No wonder I don't care for Pepsi.

Michael's bought me, like, THREE Cherry Cokes this week. Good man.
It's that week now. Shark week, if you get my point.
I NEEDED Cherry Coke.
They must put crack in it.
My mom also picked me up a Cherry Coke.
That's how much she loves me.

I had given Bucket an envelope of money to take to school to buy punch cards and tickets for the Family Fun Fair (School Carnival) this weekend. And she never brought home the cards and tickets ... because she didn't put the money in her bag. Michael did, at my bequest. BUT she had TWO backpacks hanging up. And he had put it in the one that she WASN'T using this week. *sigh* But we got it figured out ... and the cards and tickets are in my purse.

I'm still processing Amanda F's death. There's a fundraiser (like a Kickstarter) to help defray the funeral costs. From what a friend told me, they were waiting to have kids ... so that's a good thing, that it's only one death to mourn. Still, her husband is a YOUNG widower ... It's not something that you'd ever expect. At all.

I was kvetching to Michael earlier ... and he pointed out that it wouldn't work for everyone to "be twinkled" (i.e., translated ... like Moses). And I was all, "WHYYYYYyyyyyy?" And he pointed out that if it WERE the case, people wouldn't develop the faith that they'd need.
He's so smart and stuff.
"Well, I believe. Isn't that good enough? So why does Heavenly Father need to make crap things happen to people around me? I don't like it."
"He doesn't make these things happen," Michael pointed out, patiently.
"Well then, why does he LET crap things happen to people around me? I don't LIKE it," I pouted.

Yeah, he's SOOOOOOO lucky to be married to me.

Apparently, one of my reactions to a shock/tragedy like this is to shop like a madwoman for the nearest life-affirming event most important to me ... in this case, Michael's birthday and then Fathers' Day (but only presents for Michael. I should work on that. And get presents for a nephew and a few of our nieces).

Then I emailed Michael ... in my totally and completely MENTALLY-HEALTHY AND NOT AT ALL DISARMING AT ALL way:

"I bought your birthday present. So you CAN'T DIE. Because you're going to like it. And you'll be REALLY DISAPPOINTED if you don't get it this side of the veil.  .... And can I put $XX on the credit card for your Father's Day present? ... And you can't die before you get that, either."

Yeah ... I'm not at all showing total control-freak/not-handling-death-well issues ... at all.


I didn't volunteer at school this week ... they were doing testing.
I also took Bruise to the dentist; his spacer had broken ... and then broke off. Whoops.
So, it'll be replaced in a couple weeks. The office took a new impression of his teeth.
Looks like he'll have the spacer in until that molar comes in ... in 3-5 years. *sigh*

Not that I should be surprised, his front teeth haven't come out yet. Just those bottom-front ones.

Maybe Bubbles is just going to sleep all through the night? I have no idea. I kind of DON'T want to wake her ... but if she's going to wake up crazy early ... I don't know. I'll wake her up so that she can eat.

Bruise was chuffed to bits with one of the prizes from the dentist.
He got a little stick-on mustache.
And wore it to school ... until he got it wet and it wouldn't stick anymore.

Well, I'm going to go feed that baby ... and then, after I put her to bed, I'll paint Bucket's toes and we can watch some girly movie or something. And break out the ice cream.

And I'll do my best not to burst into tears or stare, catatonic, at walls.
Tragedy + shark week = suckage.

Who knows, maybe Freyja-cat will let Bucket pet her some more. That'd make Bucket's night.

Oh, hey, you know the pintrest thing where you make a body scrub of oil, sugar, and some citrus?
I tried that today. Instead of olive oil, I used coconut oil. And I used key lime juice for the citrus (hey, it was at hand) ... it smells super yum. And my legs and armpits are very soft. So are my feet. Though my feet are a little dry. Oh well. So I can give that Pin a gold star, right?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mortality Check

A girl who was in my ward (and then moved, but was still in the area) was killed in a car accident yesterday evening.

I'm a bit blindsided by this.

It's not like she and I were bffs or anything ... with a baby, it's a bit difficult to be as social as I used to be.
But I knew her a bit. Not as well as I probably should have.

All I can think is, "I helped her move."

She was ten years younger than I am.
She'd only been married for a couple years.
She was on the honor roll at the local community college.
She was quiet.
She was kind.
She was always very sweet.
She was willing to serve at the drop of a hat.

In my calling at church, I had asked her on a few occasions to take a meal over to a family (either someone was ill or had recently given birth) or to help pack/clean. And she'd fit it into her schedule.

 ... Like I said ... I feel taken aback and at a loss.

Just some random car accident ... It seems that no one else (of the three cars involved) was seriously injured.
But, by the time that responders arrived, ... she was gone.

I hope that her husband is doing okay.

I first met them as newlyweds ... and it doesn't seem like that long ago, at all.

I mean, I know that she's okay. She's not in pain ... she doesn't have to worry about finals or student loans ...
... But, well, the thing about people dying ... it's sad because it's HARD for the rest of us.

I know she'd have been a wonderful mother.
I suppose that she and her husband were planning on children. ... And those plans are on hold.

He's going to be so lonely. And that is sad.
Very sad.

So ... if you wouldn't mind saying a prayer (or lighting a candle/incense or sending positive energy or whatever) for her family and husband to be comforted ... for those who knew her to be comforted, I'd take it as a kindness.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Well ... It's been a while ...

So, I last blogged about Mother's Day ... and, well, what all has happened since then?
Let's do a quick catch-up:

  • So, Mom and I went out shopping on Wednesday (with Miss Bubbles in tow, of course). She had asked for sunglasses for Mother's Day, since her old pair was getting scratched up. So, of course, I was more than willing to help her out. We ended up at Ross where I got her two pairs of glasses ... and she ended up replacing her purse and wallet. ... We also ended up, with Bubbles' help, losing her watch. Oops.
  • We got plants for Grandma and Mom C. Mom C had requested something to cover a short wall in their yard. And, since their house is on a pit of clay, we got them Viburnum, which will be pretty ... and is one of the only plants that will do well with that soil.
    We picked up some flowers for Grandma to plant -- a couple alyssum, a petunia, and a foxglove.
  • Michael's baby sister had her birthday ... she's (as she declares) "20-something."
    I am not 20-anything. And will never be again. *sigh*
    But her daughter did fall asleep on me ... I credit my chub. It's pillow-y.
  • Bubbles is sleeping better and back to her sweet, happy self again.
  • I got through Season one of Upstairs, Downstairs. I like it. It's a slightly-more modern version of Downton Abbey ... but without Thomas (who's rather a jerk ... at least in season one of DA ... and from the talk I've heard, nothing changes much in the next two seasons ... which I do still need to watch).
  • I got some books in the mail ... I now have the WHOLE collection of Shanna Swendson's "Enchanted, Inc." series. I've read all but the last one. And I have a stack of library books that I NEED to get through ... so ... well, I'm going to read that last one. But it's not happening immediately. *sigh*
  • I also got a book for the kids (and, well, to be honest, it's for me, too): That's Disgusting!  ... It's HILARIOUS. You should totally read it. 
  • I'm mostly over the plague. I still cough a lot ... but it's more of a dry (annoying) cough.
    Yes, Gallery Photo in Rexburg worked some kind of magic ... and we got our pictures. Some of them aren't perfect (like only 75% of the picture shows up. Or vice versa. But it's a dang sight better than not have ANY of the pictures on the card. And, really, nearly ALL the pictures that I REALLY wanted turned out fine. Phew!!
    So, yeah, if you ever are having issues with an SD card, you should totally check these guys out.
  • Today, we went to Costco and had our picture taken with some of the local 501st Legion chapter.
    Bubbles refused to give Darth Vader a high five, but, besides that, it was fun.
    We also gave a friend and her boys a lift to it so they could go, too. Good times.
  • I did do my Visiting Teaching ... all via email and Facebook ... but I did make sure to touch bases with each of my sisters ... so that counts, right?
  • Bubbles is getting closer and closer to talking. She likes to say "Iiissssssh" for "fish" ... and I think that she's trying to say "hi" and "hello." She likes to babble "mamamamammamama" and "dadadadadadada" ... But it's progress, right? And she's starting to nod her head for "yes," which is a good thing, too.
  • The kids are getting closer and closer to summer vacation. And ... at the same time I'm looking forward to it (I get to see Bruise and Bucket a LOT more!) and scared (Oh. My. GOSH ... what am I going to DO with three kids all day every day?!??).
    I know that I need to make sure that the kids read and write and do maths and science and social studies. They also are going to work on reading the Book of Mormon (we'll do it together ... and try and get through it during the summer) and memorizing the Articles of Faith.
    We also need to get the kids into swimming lessons ... since they didn't have lessons last summer (Thanks, Molluscum, you stupid virus. Way to wreck my summer last year.), they don't really remember how to swim. *sigh*
    And, then there are lots of places to go and things to do ... local museums, Summer reading programs. Playdates. ... all those types of things.
  • One of my sisters-in-law had a sad thing happen ... the cat they had (they had gotten her as a kitten on their honeymoon) passed away. Very sad.
    But, happy news, they picked up a couple of kittens at a local no-kill shelter. The fuzzy siblings love their new home ... and the family loves having kittens.
    It's almost enough to make me think of getting another animal ... But then I think of how much work it would be. And I think better of it. (Although, when we go to VoldeMart, Bubbles DOES have her eye on these tiny puffer fish ...)
  • Bucket is pushing for us to get a dog someday.
    Don't get me wrong, dogs are lovely creatures ... but they're REALLY NEEDY. It'd be like having another child. And Michael's not the type to have a dog in the house. (And our yard isn't all fenced. Even if it were, our yard is rather small.)
    Bucket REALLY wants a Welsh Corgi. Which, at least, is better than a Chiuaua. (No offense intended to any of you who love what my husband refers to as "rat-dogs." In fact, my grandmother had a nice one, named Ticker. ... I don't know why he was named that. But, at least as a geriatric dog, he was very nice. And nowhere near as wired and ill-behaved as her Dachshund duo. Oh ... oh, my.)
  • Bruise got to practice writing his numbers (1-100) in five minutes or less. He knows now that he can do it ... and that one of the other classmate's techniques doesn't work for him. But he's able to finish with over a minute to spare. He also still has some trouble pronouncing some words: Churro (sounded more like "shallot"), lawn mower ("molar") ... but he's working really hard. And it's showing.
I think that's about all that I really have to write about.

I did read some scriptures today (getting back on the bandwagon! WHOOHOO!) ... So, yeah. There's that.

Should I work on teaching the kids cursive this summer? Maybe that would help Bruise's handwriting?

Also, I should work at putting together a slew of freezer meals.
I helped a gal that I used to Visit Teach by bringing over a meal. I brought her pizza.
She was happy with it ... but, well, it'd be nice to have a stash of ready-made, healthy meals within reach at all times. I should work on that.

And losing weight. That'd be nice.
Even though I am having a MAD craving for Nacho Cheese Doritos. (WHY?!? ... And I'm not pregnant.)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Best laid plans ... ha.

Well, I'm still recuperating from my plague.
And hoping that I didn't pass it on to Michael (thankfully, his symptoms are more in line with allergies. Still sucks, but ... well, at least it's one thing that I can't feel guilty about, right?).

Bubbles had a few nights where her sleep schedule was TOTES borked up.
Turns out babycakes is getting another tooth in. I finally figured that out yesterday, as I was TRYING to get her to nap in the car (since I was DONE fighting that cranky nap-needer inside the church) ... I got called out a couple times for being on Facebook in the car. Good thing people still like me. ;P

(In my defense, I HAD just finished checking my email. AND I was about to read a book about LDS urban legends, too.)

But, what with giving Bubbles some Ibuprofen and acetaminophen, she's back to sleeping SO WELL again. Phew. Because I was REALLY not loving being her mom there for a little. Since, Saturday night, she was waking up about every hour to SCREAM. It took Michael taking her out for a drive in the car. Poor guy. He took one for the team, knowing that if I'm not getting sleep, I'll never get over the creeping crud.

He was exhausted, though. He and the kids had grand plans to make me breakfast in bed (Bruise was QUITE put-out that those plans didn't come to fruition), but I was up around 8, since Bruise and Bucket were playing (loudly). And Michael slept in until about 9 ... since he didn't get home until after 1:30, with Miss Bubbles.

I was tired and cranky, though. And felt like a crap mom, since I wasn't absolutely enamored of my youngest offspring (who wouldn't take a nap for love nor money, despite being a CRANKYPANTS). Bruise and Bucket were pretty darn well-behaved. They snuggled with me (as Michael had to take Bubbles out so she MIGHT get a nap). And they both sang in the Primary (children's) group song.

Michael went to class after Sacrament meeting ... I wasn't about to try and corral Bubbles in Sunday School, so I nursed her, she ate some Cheerios, and I followed her around the halls for a bit. Until she got crankier. Then I took her out to the car, opened some windows (it was REALLY WARM), and hoped that she'd take a nap since there were fewer distractions.


So, after about an hour (with me passing her a water bottle, some snacks, a book), I finally climbed into the middle row ... and tried to get her calmer. And, I did put my finger into her mouth, since I wondered a little if she could be getting a tooth. Yup. So I gave her a dose of Ibuprofen. And that helped. She also got a cool bath after we got home (shortly thereafter), and food, and another bit of nursing, and some play ... and then she took a GOOD NAP. Almost three hours.

And we let her stay up a bit later, and gave her another dose of Ibuprofen and acetaminophen, and she slept through the night perfectly well. Phew.

I dreamed last night, that we were back at the old apartments. And there were all these Disney characters (like the ones that walk around the park) there. And I was working to get their autographs for the kids before the actors got out of costume. And most of them all got together in the yard to play games.
What's up with that?
At first, the Fairy Godmother totally blew me off. But she (and everyone else) eventually consented so that Bruise, Bucket, and Bubbles all had a great autograph collection.

I'm still getting my sense of smell and taste back. My plague started to go into my lungs. But I've been breathing deeply. A LOT. Enough so it sounds like a death rattle is going on. Michael has to ask me if I'm okay, it sounds THAT bad. But, thankfully, it's not gathering too much in my bronchioles.

Remember how I mentioned the one neighbor kid who came into our house? Well, he worked on our yard Saturday. We thought he'd only work for a couple hours ... NOPE. He's got a GREAT work ethic. He was still working when we went to run errands more than four hours after he started (Michael worked out there with him for a bit. And I went to clean off the front porch for a little. Bruise and Bucket were out riding bikes ... He tied Bruise's shoe for him.) ... The more that I see him around, the more that I'm impressed that he is NOT a bad kid. He's a kid who made a bad choice. And he knows that he's working it off.
I had asked Michael if maybe we were hard on him, since the deal is that he'll be working on the yard weekly for the whole summer. Michael said that he'd talked to the boy's mom. And she was on board with the punishment. Of course, neither Michael or I thought he'd work THIS hard on the yard. It is looking REALLY nice already.
Now I need to actually PLAN what I'd like the yard to look like. It'd be nice to have a small garden. Maybe raspberries and some potatoes at first. Then I can branch out.
Shocking, I know. Since I barely leave the house ... and I'm thinking of a GARDEN, something that REQUIRES me to go outside into the AIR and SUNSHINE.

I managed to get bottles of water to the teacher appreciation lunch for our school. So, yeah.
I think it's kinda funny ... when people ask for food/drink donations, I ask what they can use. And I get to bring the water. I know that it's useful. It just makes me laugh a bit.

Of course, that TOTALLY worked even MORE in my favor, since I couldn't smell or taste ANYTHING (well, beyond if something was REALLY sour -- like a chaser of Apple Cider Vinegar. Yeah.) ... So, I was REALLY thankful that I was assigned to bring something that I didn't have to cook. Because, well, what if it tasted AWFUL?!?!? I'd have no idea!
So, waters and some drink mix packets was totally perfect for me.

We were assigned to clean the church this weekend.
There are different assignments ... and multiple families from each ward are assigned, so it's not like it's a huge hardship (unless no one else shows up). We went Friday evening. We cleaned the bathrooms (three women's rooms, two men's rooms, one single/unisex bathroom, and the Mother's Lounge) and the drinking fountains. Then we went out for ice cream.

Since Michael gets home early from work on Fridays, we get some time together. It's our unofficial date-time. So, we went to a store that was celebrating its anniversary and browsed around. Then he got a call from the elder missionaries, asking if he could come in a half-hour to help move some furniture.
Apparently, they'd called him Thursday, while he was at work, to ask if he could do it. He gave them the numbers of some brothers in the ward with trucks that might be available. He also told them that, if those brethren weren't available, that he could do it Friday afternoon.

He had REALLY hoped that they'd think ahead to set up appointments. But that wasn't the case. So he was a little irritated. I told him to let them know, so they could NOT do it in the future. All he had to say was, "Hey, please set up an appointment. Because I had to leave my date with my wife to help."
Yeah, I'm so nice.

Chalk it up to the plague, right?

But, yeah, Mother's Day was really quiet. The kids made me some cards before church. And they nabbed a marigold plant for me on the way out of church (since I was in the car with Bubbles). Michael made lunch while I gave Bubbles a (bubble) bath. Then, since his allergies were acting up, he took a Benadryl ... and was sacked out on the couch for a couple hours. I just puttered around and played some games on Facebook.

The kids and I called my Nana (and left a message for her) in the morning. We called and talked to my mom in the afternoon. I had sent out e-cards to some of my relatives (and some of Michael's) ... since I didn't make it to the store to BUY cards for people this year. Yeah ... sucks.

I made nachos for dinner. We got the older kids in bed ... then we watched "Scary Tales" (retellings and breakdowns of some of the darker fairie tales ... last night, we watched the episode covering "Cinderella" and "The Juniper Tree." The effects are crazy cheap ... but it's interesting to hear some of the interpretations of the tales. And Michael was completely unfamiliar with "The Juniper Tree." I was able to give him a 90% accurate recap of it the previous night. I mixed up who got the necklace and who got the second gift (I thought it was a purse of gold. It was shoes. Whoops!))

I still have NOT gotten caught up on scriptures or General Conference Talks. I'm behind enough that I think I'll just read the ones I didn't get to earlier on my own. And I'll just start fresh and current here.

So, what's coming up this week ... I need to take the car back to the shop, just so they can check the transmission fluid. But I can say that the car's running a whole lot better. Shifting between gears is much nicer. Phew.
There's a PTC meeting ... finally it's NOT on the same evening as a Relief Society activity. Phew!
Then we'll be meeting with a friend who's started selling life insurance. I don't have life insurance. I have auto insurance. ... That's about it. (And it's yet another reason why I cannot die anytime soon. Because I'm no good to anyone dead.)
The kids' school is having a Science Night. Which is always a fun thing.
The local mall has their kids' club activity. And we're going to (finally) get to the Farmers' Market this weekend.
Also, Michael's baby sister is having a birthday. And it'll be good to see her again.
I'll be back to volunteering ... it's been a few weeks since I was there last. (Being sick does that. As does being on vacation.)

Then it's gearing up for a 3-/4/day weekend. (The kids have 4 days off. Michael only has a three-day weekend. But he only works in the morning on the day that only the kids have off.) ... If he wanted to take those four hours off, I wouldn't complain. Maybe we could go to the aquarium or something? It's a nice thought.

I need to get my Visiting Teaching done. I've touched bases with each of my gals ... so, at least they know that I'm thinking about them. But ... well, I feel that I should do more. I'm really crap at that.

I've gotten the laundry and dishes started. I need to watch the Netflix DVD, so that we can get something else soon. (Michael has NO INTEREST in Upstairs, Downstairs. ... And, apparently, I'm rubbish at watching things on my own.) ... and I need to read about six library books. Because I WANT to read them ... I'm just bad at DOING anything lately.

Oh well. I'll get things done. I have a list of stuff to do. And I can get it done. Eventually. Hopefully today and tomorrow. Because, dang it, I just want my house to be (mostly) clean ... and stay that way. Because I'm too tired to clean it all the time.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Vacation Recap

I'm not even getting into HOW far behind I am on scripture study and reading General Conference Talks. Not even going to go there ...

But let's see ... you probably want to know how vacation went! Yes?
Well, you're getting the report anyway. So there!

Friday, Michael stayed home from work and we ran last-minute errands and got everything packed (so when the kids got home, we just had to have them unpack their lunch pails, go to the bathroom, and jump in the van).

Then we drove down to my mom's and spent the night (Going down, we really spread out the traveling, which was nice).
From there, we headed down into California ... hit In-N-Out Burger (first time!) and stayed over at Michael's aunt and uncle's (with most of the rest of the family) that night.
THEN, we drove down to Anaheim and checked into the hotel.

I can say that we weren't terribly impressed with the Hotel del Sol ... we had to change rooms, in fact, because the air conditioner was BROKEN. Poor us. But it was nice to have family in the same hotel. It'd have been nicer if the pool had been open a bit later ... we only went swimming once ... and soaked our feet on another night. The last night we stayed there, we got back and changed into swimsuits ... and got to the stairs JUST as they had locked up the pool. *sigh* So the kids and I did showers instead.

The kids were surprised to go to Disneyland and California Adventures. They loved it, though ... even though Bruise was too short to ride California Screamin', the BIG roller coaster (I rode it with my brother-in-law, since Michael's not a fan of roller coasters.) ... Bruise DID get turned away ONCE from the Indiana Jones ride ... but we stuffed a couple Kleenex in his shoes and he was FIIIIIINE. (Bucket did not care for the Indiana Jones Adventure at all, really).
Bruise also REALLY loved the Twilight Zone Hollywood Tower of Terror. Bucket wasn't wild about it, but did go on it a second time. I'm talking Michael into going on it next time. I think he could handle it. ^_^

The one BIG thing that wasn't good was that our first memory card in the DSLR camera stopped working. So ... Michael's taking it to the IT guys at work today. If nothing else, I'll mail it to a digital image recovery place in Rexburg (I've heard good things about them ... and they have a 95% recovery rate for a lot less than the company in Dresden). I'd really, really like those pictures. I cried myself sick about it after we got home ... but I got a blessing and feel better (and was reassured in the blessing that things will work out).

Also, while we were out of town, a boy in the neighborhood found the spare key and got in out house. Didn't take anything, really (Well, a condom. Probably expired, really. Whatever.) ... It was really weird. But he came and apologized (after I'd gotten off the phone with Staples, who told me that if an SD card goes, there's no hope ... which I know is NOT true. But I cried anyways).  ... Now, when he saw that I'd been crying, he visibly blanched. He did apologize, saying that he wasn't thinking and didn't know what he was thinking.
Instead of berating him, like Michael thought I might ... because, really, I was VERY IRKED ... and hormonal and tired ... I was calm and told him that he NEEDS to think. That he's in control of his actions. That he has an incredible potential for good ... and that he needs to use it. And I asked for a hug, which he gave me.
He was quite abashed ... and I really, really, really hope that this makes him think and make better choices.
That and the fact that he's working in our yard for free for the summer. Our yard is going to look AWESOME.

It could have been way, way worse. Nothing was missing, really. Nothing was damaged.
We had lent the guns to a friend while we were gone. We didn't have any money lying around (I had a $5 bill in a jewelry box. It's still there). I'd already put the external hard drive with the kids' updated baby pictures and all into the (fire-proof) safe ... There wasn't much that could have been taken easily.

So, yes, we were VERY BLESSED.

Also, the other worrisome thing about the trip was that the transmission started to act up. My van doesn't like to shift a whole lot after a LOT of driving. But, after we got home, I had the transmission flushed. We'll see how that helps. But, like I told Michael, if I got an ulcer, we'd know why. :P

Where was I? ... Disneyland, that's right!
Here's a bit of what all we did:

  • We did almost EVERYTHING in California Adventures.
  • According to Google Maps on my phone, we walked about 16 miles total that first day.
    I can believe it, due to the five blisters that I ended up with. Youch!
  • I also got a crazy bad sunburn on one of my shoulders. Dad C was shocked, since he WATCHED me put on a ton of sunscreen. It's mostly all healed now. It still feels all dry and leathery in comparison to the rest of my skin.
  • Bubbles got a sunburn across her little nose and cheeks. It's about all faded now.
    She also ended up with Prickly Heat ... so I felt like a crap mom.
  • The kids chose their souvenirs: Bruise wound up with a little (cheap) pirate sword at D-land. Bucket got a little Princess Leia dress-up doll kit (with little plastic dresses and different hairstyles). I got Bubbles a stuffed baby Pegasus (from Hercules) wrapped in a blanket. I got a hoodie.
  • Bruise and Bucket got picked to be in Jedi training! They had a great time. Bruise dueled with Darth Vader and Bucket battled Darth Maul.
  • We met a lot of the princesses: Snow White, Merida, Cinderella, Tiana, Aurora, and Jasmine (Snow White and Jasmine are, sadly, on the malfunctioning SD card. And Jasmine is Bucket's current favorite). We also met with the fairies, Rosetta and Tinker Bell ... two of Bucket's favorites (Silvermist was the missing one of the trifecta). We also got to see Chip and Dale, Brer Fox, Duffy (the Disney bear), Donald Duck, and Aladdin. (Aladdin is ALSO on the other SD card. *sigh*)
  • We really could have used another day or two in order to get through all of Disneyland. And we didn't do Radiator Springs, since it was SO, SO crowded (and Bubbles was too small to go on many rides, poor gal).
  • We did make sure to hit Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion ... those are dealbreakers for me.
  • We shared Dole Whips (yum) and beignets (yummm!!!) ... Cafe Orleans is a bit spendy, but the servers were so, so nice ... and the dipping sauces for the beignets were so good. There's a Creme Anglaise (a vanilla-creme sauce. They described it as a "liquid creme brulee") and a raspberry cloutis ("clew-ee"), which I wanted to drink through a straw. Very good.
  • The kids loved going on so many rides ... Splash Mountain was one they really liked. As was the Grizzly River Run (you can't NOT get splashed/soaked on that one). 
  • We watched the Aladdin musical show. VERY GOOD. The genie was GREAT. And the scenery and costumes ... I mean, there wasn't anything NOT to love about it. Even Bubbles had a great time. And she's a little with a little's attention span. She clapped, even.
  • We also met Mickey Mouse ... and Bubbles was ENTRANCED. She waved to him later, when the parade was starting (we were in line for "It's a Small World," which she enjoyed).
  • The characters are all so great ... very in character. Rosetta declared, in a Southern drawl, as she signed Bucket's autograph book that Bucket's dress (her Princess Aurora dress) "It's PINK and SPARKLY, so she's dressed like ME!" ... Tiana was so hospitable. Cinderella was so gracious. Aurora was sweet. Merida ... she was wonderful, and quite taken with Bubbles, "the wee babby!"
  • The kids and I went on Goofy's Flight School roller coaster. It's VERY jerky (unlike the smooth speed of California Screamin' ... yes, I'm spoiled forever now). The kids were in front of me ... and I had a single rider next to me.
    "Hi!" I chirped. What?? I'm friendly, okay?
    "Hello, luv," he replied.
    "...Where are you from?"
    "I'm from the UK."
    "Oh, cool! Which part?"
    Turns out he was from Scotland and works for Disney in Florida. He did NOT care for that roller coaster, which made me feel better about it's not being in my favorites, either. And he worked to control himself ... though I heard many "bloody!" things.
    And he rescued my ticket holder when it fell off my lanyard.
    Michael's lucky that I'm so faithful ... ^_^
  • I think Bucket's favorite ride was Soarin' Over California ... It's a simulated flying/hang-gliding ride over California vistas, over a huge, curved movie screen. It was a great ride.
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, and the Jungle Cruise were closed when we were there. Sad. But we'll just have to ride those next time.
  • Bubbles really liked ... well, anything. We didn't take her to World of Color, she stayed with Mom and Dad C for that ... but she would have liked it, I think. She loves anything with music (like Ariel's Undersea Adventure and It's a Small World) ... and seeing Mickey.
And that's most of what I really remember about Disneyland.
(Michael, if you want to share anything, go ahead!!)

Then, we packed up and headed south to Carlsbad to LEGOland!
We actually stayed at the resort ... and I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend it!

The hotel itself is designed and decorated with kids in mind ... I mean, the elevators alone ... If you're staying on the ground floor (Kingdom themed), you have to ride the elevator anyways!
(If you check my Facebook, I have a short video of it!)

The pool is VERY nice. Bruise, Bucket and I went for a little splash-about while Bubbles and Michael relaxed in the room.

The buffet is a little expensive, but VERY good. The food choices are great ... There were MUSHROOMS!! And I barely ever get to eat mushrooms since I'm about the only person in this house who likes them. So, don't judge me if I gorged myself on mushrooms. And Vegetable curry ... and all sorts of other things (Though, next time, we will try the other two restaurants in the hotel -- the cafe and the lounge). The toilets have a kids' training seat built into the lid ... The decorations are great ... Really, I can't think of anything we DIDN'T like!

Bruise and Bucket LOVED having a TV to themselves. And lights in their bunks.
When they got to the room, there's a little safe for them to open. Inside were chocolate coins (which I knew about) and they each got a new minifig (Series 10): Bucket got Medusa (which was the one she wanted most of all) and Bruise got a skydiver.

LEGOland is smaller than Disneyland ... so we were able to do just about every ride (except for a couple that were closed, the water park -- closed, and a few that we skipped) and the Sea Life aquarium in the two days that we were there. And LEGOland is geared primarily for kids ages 2-12, so Bruise and Bucket were tall enough to go on ALL the rides, including the roller coasters.

Michael was thrilled to be there and see all the LEGO sculptures. We did the factory tour and the kids got to play in the splash park(s) in Pirate's Cove.

After the rides at Disneyland, Bruise and Bucket were a little jaded (because the Disney rides are generally longer) ... but the wait times at LEGOland were not bad at all ... and the Pirate's Reef ride made up for it.
It's a short ride, don't get me wrong ... you go up an incline, come down FAST ... and you WILL get wet. No matter where you sit.
When we got in, there was already about an inch-and-a-half of standing water in the boat. (Felt SO good to my flip-flopped feet after how many days of walking around parks!) ... And, when we finished, the only spots that WEREN'T wet were where my back and butt were against the seat and between my thighs, since I sat with my knees together. The rest of me was SOAKED. So I was REALLY GLAD that I had worn light layers, including leggings, instead of jeans. And that it was a warm, sunny day ... since that helped me to dry off quickly.

Like I mentioned, Bubbles couldn't go on a lot of the rides (she's NOT 36" by a long shot. Yet), but she and Michael had fun looking around at things. And she LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the aquarium. She waved to all the fish ... we think her first real word might end up being "fish." She's getting close ... "ffffsh!!!!" But, then again, it might be "hi!"

We bought our souvenirs before the aquarium ... then picked them up right before we left the park. Michael got two LEGO sets (Y-wing and the LEGOCity Pet Store). Bruise got the LEGO Kingdom chess set and an Iron Man 3 set. Bucket got two stuffed LEGO Friends animals (the grey cat and the brown horse), and ... um ... two Lego Friends sets, I think? Michael gave her an amount to spend ... and she really used it well. We got Bucket a little stuffed panda with a Lego block embroidered on its foot pad and a little Duplo set (polar bear and penguin). I grabbed a hoodie, a bag, a magnet, a couple ice trays, and a DVD for the kids (they still don't know about that, though. Shhh!!). Lots of LEGO loot.

The drive home, after getting out of the aquarium, was LONG. We took off around 4 and drove. Got caught in LA traffic, which was discouraging.

Michael: Why do I even TRY to get up to 60mph? (as we're going around 20 and maxing out around 40mph).
Me: Optimism.

He's so lucky to have me.

As I mentioned, the transmission wasn't wanting to switch gears easily ... so that was nervous-making. But we prayed. And prayed.

We grabbed dinner at McDonald's and filled the gas tank ... and kept driving. I fell asleep around 11 or so. We pulled over at a couple of rest stops so Michael could get a nap (but he couldn't, since Bubbles' car seat is RIGHT behind the driver's seat, so he couldn't recline it much).
We traded off driving when we got gas next. I grabbed a Cherry Coke and drove from around 4am-6ish ... Then we traded when we got gas (and breakfast at IHOP while the van rested a little and I tried not to cry or throw up ... Yeah, I don't handle stress well. I just wanted to be HOME).

We decided that we weren't going to go through Brookings (Michael would like to go there sometime and check out a job site that his company has worked on ... This was NOT that time, though. Poo.), but that we'd just head straight home on the freeway.

And we made it home ... around 3 PM. We checked out the house, figured out that the neighbor kid didn't steal anything, unpacked, started laundry, started loading pictures, got the kids ready for baths and bed ...

We made it to Sacrament meeting on Sunday ... and I went home afterwards ... Bubbles was tired ... and I almost fell asleep three times during Testimony meeting. So, Michael drove us home (the kids were in Primary and he wanted to be at EQ), where we took naps.

Monday, we took the kids out for frozen yogurt (since Bucket was Student of the Month) ... and I was sick with a cold ... and had JUST lost my sense of smell and taste.
Tuesday, my cold got worse and is starting to get better ... moving from my sinuses into my chest. FUN! But, at least, I'm not throwing up due to all the mucus ... so that's a benefit, right? And I don't think I'm running a fever anymore, like I was last night.

So ... just wish us luck on getting all the pictures off of the one SD card ... And that my mom and I get healthy again FAST. I hate being sick. It makes me grumpy. And that Bubbles' heat-rash clears up totally. And that the one neighbor kid turns his life around. Because ... I get the feeling, after meeting him, that he's a good kid. And he needs to KNOW that he's a good person ... and that he's capable of controlling impulses.

... I'll try and get caught up on scriptures and talks soon. It might not be today, though.

Counting ...

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